Dear Black Parents, You Need To Stop Doing These 13 Things

Dear Black Parents, You Need To Stop Doing These 13 Things

8. Perceiving dissenting opinions as disrespect.
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We all know there are fundamental differences between raising black children and raising white children. But black parents really do some of the most bizarre and damaging things. Here is an incomplete list of things black parents really need to stop doing to their children.

1. Requiring us to contribute financially while we are still in our teen years and early twenties.

Many black parents, especially, encourage their children to start working as soon as they are the legal age too. That in itself is not usually a problem.

Where the issue comes in is when black parents funnel most, if not all, of their children income into their own. My first year out of high school was also my first year working, my mother took every last penny I made. I wasn't able to save. Not for a car, not for college, not for new clothes. Nothing.



2. Using public embarrassment as punishment.

We've all seen those viral photos of black parents giving their sons the "old man haircut," when they've gone to school and showed their ass by trying to "act grown" and they are hilarious... on the surface.

SEE ALSO: Having A Mental Illness Is So Much Different When You're Black

But public humiliation not only makes your child a target for bullying but can cause undue stress and lead to low self-esteem. Whatever happened to just spanking, sending us to bed without dinner or taking away our electronics for a weekend?

3. Threatening our lives.

First of all, it's counterproductive. Second of all, it's emotional abuse. If a husband did it to a wife, everyone would tell her to get out of the marriage. If someone did it to a co-worker, they'd probably be terminated, best case.

Worst case, the police would be called. So, why is it less harmful to do it to your own child?

4. Beating and physically abusing us.

Discipline is a big thing in black households. Belts, switches and big ass spoons are very familiar to the rear ends of many black children.

But some parents take it too far. I can remember at one point growing up my mom forcefully dragging me out of the car kicking and screaming and leaving me on the side of the road in the middle of the night for not responding to her in a conversation quick enough. Then when I finally made it home after a 10-minute walk, throwing a glass at my head upon walking through the door.

Was this really justified?

Now, spanking is one thing. A belt to the back of the legs is one thing. But beating your child is an entirely different animal. It's abuse. Stop teaching us that love and physical pain go hand in hand.

5. Discouraging us from pursuing the arts.

While the arts can oftentimes be a hard business to get into, it can also be very lucrative. Whether it's singing, writing, or directing, there are tons of avenues into the business, especially in 2017. Not to say you shouldn't encourage a backup plan, but life is too short and too sad to stand in the way of your children's creativity or dreams.

6. Partaking in homophobia and encouraging violence towards the LGBTQ community.

Homophobia is rampant in the black community, especially for the Caribbean community. This is something that probably won't change for a long while seeing as how the traumatic roots of black homophobia can be traced back to slavery.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things Black Kids Experience Growing Up In White Communities

However, this isn't so to say that the way the black community, in general, treats the LGBTQ community is at all justified. Many black people use the Bible to spread hate as if God didn't specifically tell us to love our neighbors as ourselves and leave all judgment to Him.

You don't have to condone the feelings others have about their own sexuality, you just need to mind your business.

7. Not allowing us to have emotions.

Black children are often not allowed to have emotions other than happiness or contentment about anything. The slightest of emotions are often shut down. In fact, black parents love to compete with their children. "Oh, you cryin' cus you scraped your knee? Boy, get up! I'm cryin' cus I got all these bills!"

And God forbid you slam a door out of anger.

8. Perceiving dissenting opinions as disrespect.

Black children really aren't allowed to have opinions outside of their parents' opinions.

Point. Blank. Period.

And bless your heart if any of your opinions on religion don't reflect those of your parents. There's no way you don't know this stifles your child's mental growth. It's one thing to want to shape your children, but what happens when they grow and realize they have no sense of self and can't get one because they have like zero original thoughts?

9. Not allowing us to have any personal space.

I wish I could have said the words "personal space" in my mom's house. There is nothing wrong with giving your children some alone time with their thoughts. You know you need it to stay sane, why would you assume your children don't?

10. Continuously using explicit language.

You have to know children watch everything you do and repeat everything you say. Set an example.

11. Pretending that you're never wrong and not apologizing when you are, in fact, dead wrong.

One thing every black millennial knows is that black parents don't apologize... for anything. Literally, nothing is their fault, ever. And there is not one time in the history of their life as a parent that they have ever been wrong.

A black mom could leave a pot on the stove, burn down the entire block and then have the nerve to blame her children for asking for some Easy Mac. Often times growing up, my mom would jump the gun and punish me for something I didn't do and upon realizing I was an innocent party, just go on living life like she didn't just mollywop my edges off. Just say sorry, sometimes.

12. Making us call everyone auntie or uncle.

Everyone is not our auntie or uncle and you really should be more careful about who you let around your children. Which leads me to my final point...

13. Ignoring sexual abuse and shaming your daughters.

That inappropriate cousin that flirts with all the ladies (including blood relatives) is nasty and should really not continuously be invited to family gatherings where children are present and you know it. Those uncles that you have that make you feel like you need to tell your teen daughters to put on longer pants or cover up with a jacket are predators and should not be invited to the house.

And when your daughter tells that your husband makes her sit on his lap when they are alone together, believe her.

She did not seduce your man and he needs to be in jail.


Feel free to add any that I have missed in the comment section below.

Cover Image Credit: Nathaniel Tetteh

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hot air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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Mom, You Were Right — You Were Right About Everything

Now that those teenage years are over, I realize how much you taught me over the years, even when I refused to listen.

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I never realized how as a teenager how much I disagreed with my mom and how clueless I thought she was about almost anything. I would easily get annoyed if she tried to give me advice on friends, boys, food, and life in general, but now that I'm older I realize she was right about nearly everything.

Thinking back to middle school and high school, and all the days in between school, there were so many fake friends I had, girl issues I had, all these problems I had, and I thought I knew it all, but it's crazy how little I actually knew.

I wish I would have listened when you told me certain people were not true friends because for so long I wanted to believe they were my friends, but you could see how they treated me, and all you ever were was concerned for my happiness and now I know that.

The same with dating too... It's almost like you had some sort of x-ray vision that could see straight through people and who they really were the moment they came around, but not me. I wanted to believe that you just wanted me to be friends and date only certain people you knew. Any guy who even sent one red flag concerned you, because you were looking out for me.

But Mom, you weren't just right about people you were also right about things, such as eating my vegetables and fruits, reading books just for fun, studying hard (because now I'm so much further thanks to you), saving my money for things I need more than things I want.

I know that now and again you made mistakes, just as I have, but it all came down to you caring and loving me from day one, and I wish I realized that then.

I now take your advice gladly, and probably for almost any decision I make. I even find myself now asking for help with outfits, and colors to paint rooms, and you're even right about those things. I know they say wisdom comes with age, but for you, it just came naturally... So how lucky am I to have someone looking out for me every step of the way, making sure I don't make the mistakes you wish you wouldn't have, even if they were big or small.

It must be a superhero power of some sort to have the intelligence you do, and I truly hope I inherit it one day. As I'm sitting here today thinking of this and writing about this, I can't help but think how thankful I am for all your nagging (which at times still gets on my nerves), but now I understand it isn't for your ego or anything along those lines, it has been for me and my life. So Mom, I just wanted to let you know I will always eat my vegetables now, never let someone treat me like dirt, and I'll forever be here for you too.

Cover Image Credit:

Mikaela Cok

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